I was in India during the election time. People asked me about the Ramjanmabhoomi controversy in Ayodhya. My feeling is that Hindus should be a little more tolerant and not demand and use violence in getting the place back. If it really comes to it, the Hindus could be more generous. The Muslims seem to be loving Rama so much. That's why they want to put their mosque right over the birthplace, because they feel it is a more holy place. So Hindus could be more generous and say, "Yes, all right. We are friends. You seem to be interested in that place, because you seem to love as much as we do. OK, take it. Rama will be happy to accommodate you. We will request Rama to be present in some other place. Not even nearby. There is no need." Wherever we pray, Rama will come. We seem to be sticking with geographical places, as if in the other places Rama is not available. Losing this many lives, even Rama will not want it.

The loss of life and property in the Bihar riots is not Hindu dharma. It is not dharma to get things by violence. Gandhiji didn't recommend that. Should we put so much importance in that geographical area and we still don't know whether that is the birthplace or not? Rama is not a person physically located in one place. Wherever you sing Rama's name, Rama comes. Rama himself gave the whole kingdom to Bharata and walked out of the country. And in his name we are killing our own fellow citizens and brothers. It is not really worth it.

[There are reports that various leaders made calls for violence.] If it going to end up in violence, that is not Hinduism. They may shout for the cause of Hinduism they are not doing something good for Hinduism. They are really ruining the spirit of Hinduism. Violence has no place in Hinduism. Self-defense, yes. But this you cannot call self-defense. All these years they have allowed [the muslims] to sit and pray there. Even if they insist on getting it back, they should go in a sattvic way, not create violence and kill people. They can sit like Mahatma Gandhi did, satyagraha, [lit. "truth force," passive resistance] against a big powerful government. We can claim that back passive means, not by violence. Violence creates more rivalry. In India Hindus and Muslims have to stay together. You can't just ask the Muslims to go out of the country. India doesn't belong to Hindus only. Who is a Hindu? Everyone put together, Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam, "The family of God is the whole world." Are Muslims not included in the family of God, then? [Those who call for aggression] are presenting Hinduism in the wrong way. In the name of Hinduism they are getting into practical things. Those Hindus are not behaving like real Hindus.

If a swami contributes to violence, then he is not a swami according to the Hindu way. They can offer their own life, not in fighting, but go sit in front and say, "We want the place" in a passive resistance. Gandhiji has proved it. He won the freedom for India in a passive way. Can't we get a small place in a passive way, then? My advice is that anything that is gotten by violence, or that begets violence, will end up in violence. So violence is not the way to get things done. That is not the Hindu way. The Hindu scriptures never recommended that. Defense, yes, but no offense. That is the Hindu way. In whatever way violence is promoted, it is against Hindu dharma. So all the Hindus should know that we have a right to get what is ours, but not through violence. If we can't get it without violence, we can even give it away. The Ramjanmabhoomi is not more important than sticking to the principles of Hindu dharma and living amicably with the fellow Indians. Even Rama will not appreciate this. That's my request to all the Hindus who are fighting this thing.

Article copyright Himalayan Academy.